The Desktop survives. Once it was plain; for a while, it was “active.” It has been adorned by screen savers, gadget bars, picture shows, themes, and wallpapers—things that were pretty, things that were mesmerizing, things that were useful, and things that went bump in the night. But the Desktop remains.
The Desktop is a container object, just as a folder is. However, the Desktop is a special container because it can not only show files, folders, and object icons, it can contain the taskbar, which you have just seen.
But by far the Desktop’s most important function is as a container of “windows.” Windows are content containers that are controlled by a piece of system software called the Window Manager. Windows are the whole point of the Desktop’s existence. Without windows (lowercase, please), Windows is just another tile-based life form. Let’s start by looking at the Desktop context menu.
To view the Desktop context menu
Right-click an empty area of the Desktop .
The View and Sort By submenus contain commands that are typical of folders. Refresh (F5) updates the Desktop manually.
To select something on the Desktop (or in a window)
- Click the object.
- Drag a selection area around a contiguous range of objects.
- Click at the beginning of a contiguous range of objects, hold the Shift key, and click the end of the range.
- Click the first object in a noncontiguous range, hold the Ctrl key, and click the other objects you want in the range.
To perform window actions on a selection using the Clipboard
- Press Ctrl+X to delete the object and copy it to the Clipboard system memory.
- Press Ctrl+C to leave the object but place a copy on the Clipboard.
- Press Ctrl+V to paste a copy of the object at your current location.
To perform window actions on a selection using drag and drop
- Drag selected objects to move them from folder to folder.
- Drag selected objects from one disk to another to make a copy of your selection.
- Hold the Ctrl key while dragging selected objects to make a copy of the objects even if the default action is to move them.
- Hold the Alt key while dragging selected objects to create a shortcut to the objects.
- Press the Delete key to remove any selections and place them in the Recycle bin.
- Drag and drop items into the Recycle bin to delete them.
- Press Ctrl+Z to undo the last action if you make a mistake.
The expanded New command for the Desktop context menu allows you to create files and shortcuts of various types. As you install programs in Windows, additional file types are added. The New Shortcut command opens a wizard that lets you create a shortcut or pointer (what Unix and Linux call a symbolic link) to objects in other locations.